Friday, May 25, 2018

Toronto city council appoints Jonathan Tsao as Ward 33 councillor

Toronto city council has appointed Jonathan Tsao to be the councillor for Ward 33 — Don Valley East.

Tsao fills the vacancy left by former councillor Shelley Carroll, who is running for the Liberal Party in the provincial election in the new riding of Don Valley North. Tsao narrowly beat out Divya Nayak on the third ballot.

Tsao is a former provincial government employee as well as an advocate for children's mental health.

Eighteen candidates, seven of whom live in the ward, applied to fill the seat.

All were given five minutes to address council at a special meeting on Tuesday in an order that was determined by lot.

Tory apologizes after councillor's phone number given out

The vote was not without controversy.

Coun. Mike Layton accused Mayor John Tory's office of lobbying on behalf of a candidate, while Coun. David Shiner said his personal phone number had been given to one of of the candidates.

Tory, who supported Tsao, told reporters that he has apologized to a councillor after his office provided the phone number, which was reportedly not publicly available.

"It's kind of a grey area of what private numbers are when you're a public office holder. My own cell phone number is in the hands of literally thousands of people who I regularly give it to. Notwithstanding that, there should be permission given by the person whose phone number it is when it's being given out," Tory said.

"That will be made clear to my staff. It has been already. That won't happen again."

Tory acknowledged that candidates have been lobbying councillors and he has been lobbied himself. He said he sees the lobbying as part of the political process.

In a statement, Tory was full of praise for the appointed councillor.

"I believe Mr. Tsao is passionate about public service, Ward 33 and all of Toronto," he said.

Appointment covers remainder of term

Tsao will represent Ward 33, which runs from Don River Valley in the west, Finch Avenue to the north, Victoria Park Avenue in the east and Highway 401 in the south, until the end of the term.

Under the Municipal Elections Act, council is allowed to make an appointment to fill a vacant seat until 90 days before a municipal election.

The next municipal election will held on Oct. 22, 2018.

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